With one of the largest selections of draft beer and an extensive menu of New American fare to match, Yard House is where beer and food lovers unite to have a good time. As Yard House continues to open new locations, there’s no better way to show what Yard House is all about than through visuals that capture the fun and energetic experience offered at each restaurant.
Sean Kagawa, senior graphic designer on the marketing team, works on many of Yard House’s design projects and manages all of their visual assets. To help the team keep up with the demands of a growing company, Sean felt the need for the right digital asset management (DAM) solution could no longer be ignored.
Yard House is a visually driven brand, using tons of photos and videos every day to showcase their food, drink and atmosphere. This means the marketing team has a growing library of thousands of photos and videos to manage.
“We’re really proud of our photography. We were storing our photos on a server, but there was no way to preview the images. It was impossible to find specific photos when we’re working with thousands of them,” says Sean.
To help the team find the best photos to use, Sean would print 300-400 page lookbooks of Yard House’s photo library that team members would browse and mark with color-coded post-it notes to request images for use within marketing campaigns. Not only was this a clunky system to work with, it also took up days of Sean’s time because the books would constantly need to be updated.
“Every time we had a photoshoot, I would spend at least a few days updating books to have the new photos,” says Sean.
In addition, Sean’s inbox was often full of image requests, especially as the team grew their social media channels, and he became the bottleneck for any projects involving visual assets.
Sean searched for a digital asset management (DAM) solution so that he wouldn’t be a bottleneck for the marketing team and the team could collaborate more easily with external parties, but most solutions did not offer enough tools to actually enable the usage he needed.
Sean chose Canto as the best solution to these friction points that were disrupting the marketing team’s flow.
“Canto is the perfect tool for what we need. The visual gallery of viewing assets came so close to those books that I was building, which we needed to let our team see everything we have quickly. We didn’t just want a place to hold files; we wanted a lookbook,” says Sean. “Combined with the link creation and sharing options, it made photo reviews super easy with even the least tech-savvy members of our teams.”
But even more important was that the Canto team was willing to work with Sean to add features that would greatly improve his team’s experience.
“When we first signed on with Canto, we realized that a promised ability for users to crop and resize photos when they download only allowed users to crop or resize photos, but we were promised that it would be added. I even had a big meeting with Canto’s developers at one point so they could understand our needs. They went to work on it, and everybody can resize and crop images now. It’s just amazing,” says Sean.
A centralized photo and video library
The marketing team stores all of their current food and lifestyle photography, videos, brand assets and presentations in Canto. The assets in Canto end up in marketing and advertising campaigns, on the website, on their online ordering platform, social media, print materials and more.
“We’re using Canto every day for every project. When I’m designing things, it’s a great way for project managers to show me what pictures they’re thinking of and give me a feel of what they’re looking for,” says Sean.
Having a centralized and cloud-based digital asset library helps Sean stay in sync with the broader organization, even though he works on the other side of the country.
“I actually work in California and the company headquarters are in Orlando, but with the support of Canto and our project management system, we have achieved a seamless, efficient workflow,” says Sean.
Empowering a team to self-serve
“Canto fulfilled our big wishlist item of having robust ways to download images. It allows a lot of people, who used to have to work with a designer to get assets sized for their needs, to just do it themselves without having any Photoshop training,” says Sean. “It empowers everyone to get things done right away.”
Now that everyone can simply search for and download assets in any size, crop or format they need instead of going through Sean, the team can work much more quickly.
Canto’s user-friendly interface also enables the team to collaborate with anyone inside and outside the organization. “It’s really nice to be able to send a link to share assets that anyone can use, whether it’s another designer at one of our agencies or an internal team member,” says Sean.
With Canto streamlining creative workflows, the marketing team is at the top of its game. Sean notes that they’re able to take on a higher volume of projects at a faster pace than ever before in the past decade that he’s worked at Yard House.
“We’re moving as fast as we can now,” says Sean. “We used to take a week to approve something and now a couple days is standard.”
The Yard House marketing team has reclaimed all the time they used to spend wrangling their content, and are able to redouble their focus on the work that matters most to them.
“I never thought I’d be making and creating so many things,” says Sean. “It is exhilarating and awesome.”